JUAN GONZALEZ Well, I’d like to ask you, you say you are also critical of the progressive or the left response here. You say in your article in Harper’s, “There is a real possibility that the primary victim of the ongoing crisis will not be capitalism but the left itself, insofar as its inability to offer a viable global alternative was again made visible to everyone.” Could you elaborate?
SLAVOJ ŽIŽEK: I am a radical leftist. I like to call myself, in a very conditional way, a communist even. But I think one should, as a leftist, really concede the amount of the defeat of the left in the last twenty years. That’s the sine qua non condition of a possible review. So, yes, apart from very sympathetic things suggested by people like Stiglitz, Krugman, which are basically a return to Keynesian welfare state, and apart from some interesting—but I don’t think they are the solution—economic ideas, like the basic income or so-called renta básica in Brazil, basic rent, which is a utopia of its own, I think, I sometimes, apart from this, have a strange paranoiac idea that maybe this crisis was manufactured so that people will see that even if there is a crisis, the left really doesn’t have a global answer.
I see—what worries me is two things about the left. First, it’s more and more legalistic moralization. You know, it’s kind of a pure form of protest against injustice. Then the only thing you can do is legal forums and so on. In this sense, many of the ex-leftists are getting depoliticized. They no longer ask the truly basic questions. Like even now, all the outcry was, “Oh, those bank profiteers,” and so on. I totally agree with what we just heard. But don’t you think that the truth is a little bit more complex, in the sense of—you know much more about this than me, but the way I see it is that one of the roots of the present crisis is not just greed. It’s that after the digital bubble at the beginning of our millennium, the idea was how to keep prosperity, how to keep economy alive. And it was, as far as I remember, even a little bit of a really bipartisan decision: let’s make it easier in real estate, and so on, to keep it moving. So, you know, there is a structural problem beneath all this psychological topic of the greedy bankers, which is, that’s how capitalism works, my God, which is why even concerning our beloved model—Bernard Madoff, no?—I didn’t like it how they focused on him. Wait a minute. He was just the radical version of where the system is pushing you. Now, I’m not saying—I’m not crazy—“which is why we need to nationalize all banks and introduce immediately socialist dictatorship" or what. What I’m just saying is, let’s not get rid of the problem by too easily making it into a psychological problem. You know, you can be an evil guy, but there must be very precise institutional, economic, and so on, coordinates, background, which allows you to do what you do.
El planteo nos lleva de vuelta al tema que hemos abordado en algunos posts y comentarios sobre los planteamientos y falta de discurso-lenguaje, específicamente en PR para abordar problemas estructurales comunes a tantos temas que trabajamos y nos atañen. Y así nos pasamos, como dice Zizek, reaccionando a las injusticias pero faltos de discusión pública y sin foros para llamar esas injusticias por sus nombres, ni hablar de pensar en las alternativas. ¿Nos estamos haciendo las preguntas básicas? Creo que sabemos las respuesta. Entonces, cuándo y qué condiciones propiciar para comenzar a hacérnoslas o a hacer posible que nos las hagámos?... continuará!